No two ways about it, Marjorie Liu is extraordinary.
At 39, Liu is a Hugo, GLAAD and Eisner award winning, New York Times bestselling author. She has penned quite a few comics (X-23, Black Widow, Astonishing X-Men – and the highly acclaimed and deeply personal Monstress – to name only a few). She even teaches comic book writing at MIT.
So you can either let her make you feel like a slacker, or you could see her as an inspiration, which many do. And that ability to inspire was on full display at her opening keynote address at the New York Public Library. Speaking to a packed room of about 50% librarians, Liu set an unambiguous tone for the weekend; diversity in the industry is right, it's critical, and it's improving.
"It's so beautiful what's happening right now" in terms of the increasing diversity of comic writers, Liu noted with a smile.
As a child, Liu spoke of how she wanted to be "a dangerous woman," but was ill-served looking for role models across the media landscape which offered "almost nothing but white heroes."
"That's kind of perverse if you think about it. It's like the most brilliant form of brainwashing ever"
Liu recounted growing up, frequently tagged by white America as a member of "the mysterious race called 'exotic'"; as an "object of curiousity" rather than fully human. Even as an adult breaking into the writing business, she was advised to write under a "fake, white name."
To which she replied: "Bullsh-t."
Along with continuing to work on Monstress, Liu is working on a new graphic novel for kids due out next year. After that, she's planning to get back into the novel business.